Calling this the definitive collection of Scottish singer, guitarist, and songwriter Dick Gaughan's long career is a bit of a stretch, but it does serve as a brief introduction to the different strains in his body of work. Drawn from sides recorded for the Topic and Greentrax imprints, it includes examples of his fine acoustic guitar playing ("Coppers and Brass/The Gander in the Pratie Hole"), his interpretations of the traditional Scottish story ballads he calls "muckle songs" (the tense and drone-driven "Dowie Dens O Yarrow"), his covers of contemporary songwriters (tunes by Lal Waterson, Hamish Henderson, and Ron Kavana), and his own songs ("Both Sides the Tweed," which closes things here). "Dowie Dens O Yarrow" is particularly powerful, as are Gaughan's versions of Lal and Mike Waterson's cinematic "Scarecrow" and Ashley Hutchings' rewritten and reformatted "Young Henry Martin." At a dozen tracks, though, this set only begins to scratch the surface of a nearly 40-year career.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett